"The portal opened, engulfing us in a shroud of energy. Our transporter came to a stop on top the roofs of a darkened city; clouds above us were puffy and grey, allowing no light to pass through them, as well as the nearby buildings being entirely black, presumably made from an obsidian stone. It more than benefited us; we were barely a blimp on the radar for the passersby below.
My brother Axel and little sister Mia were the first to leave the transporter, then came me. I was making a mental note as to where we were leaving our vessel for when it was time to leave - always gotta be prepared, y'know? Especially since it made a habit of concealing itself, rendering it invisible.
Mia started to stretch and let out a loud yawn while Axel kicked his legs one by one to get the blood flowing; it took ages to get here and having to be still on board was near maddening. But alas, we made it here on the planet Ares...
'So, what should we do first, ask people if they've seen Dad?' Mia asked, looking over at us with her big round eyes. '...do they even speak the same language?'
'Won't til we find out,' said Axel. 'Another question, how do we get down?'
We all looked around until we noticed a door with a staircase.
'Here we go...'
From up on the roof tops, it was relatively quiet with some noise giving the impression that people were on the streets, but actually being among them, they were certainly much rowdier. There were those at what looked to be a small vendor's station arguing loudly and struggling over a basket of some kind of yellow... fruit? I squinted my eyes but I still can't tell. Some sort of food. Beside us a fist fight broke out as things were said in presumably a dialect none of us understood; droplets of blood sprayed onto our clothing... lovely. A couple of kids around Mia's age of seven were shoving each other to the point where they were tripping over themselves trying to get the upper hand. Axel had an arm around Mia's shoulders and pulled her in close while keeping an eye out for those who dared to look at her. All the shouting must've frightened her as she clung to her brother's side.
'I swear you could cut the tension in the air, it's so thick here...' I said in a low voice, walking beside Axel. Just walking through this dark city where the street lights only blink was enough to make me want to clock the next guy who looks at me funny.
There was some static suddenly, and that dialect that we heard before from the locals came back. The tone of voice was more upbeat and peppy and yet still brutish - perhaps he was advertising. But something interesting happened... the dialect was starting to transform into our very own language; we could suddenly understand.
'-- come one, come all to see the finest submission grappling in the entire galaxy!' Axel and I exchanged glances; it caught our attention and we loomed closer to the man making the announcement. He looked like he was using a horn made from solid gold. 'Tonight, you'll see the formidable team champions Deirdre and Quinn face off against local competitors Celeste and Yoko who are more determined than ever to become the rhodium wearers! Will our current champions' rocky relationship finally crack and submit their titles to the awesome might of their opponents? Or will they manage to squeeze out another successful defense? Find out tonight in the galaxy-famous Hippodrome!'
The man caught notice of our staring and raised the skin where his eyebrow should be at us. Shimmering glitters covered his eyelashes and lips, the iris of his eyes completely snow white.
'What're you kids gawkin' at? You comin' or what?' he said in what is now a familiar aggressive tone, like a hiss. I have a feeling that this planet was named 'Ares' for a good reason now. 'You want your tickets? Here!' He tossed three circle pieces of paper at us that merely hit our feet; is this a joke...?
Mia picked them up and stared at them, eyeing the colorful nature; and for what seemed to appear to be paper, it certainly did not have a speck of water or dirt on it. It was unbreakable, straight, and steel-like.
'Then get your asses in the Hippodrome and enjoy the damn production!' It was hard to say anything back to the guy, or at least it was for me. Axel's face was turning pink as the corner of his eye twitched at the impoliteness; we just took the tickets and went inside without a word.
As if it couldn't get any darker - the hallways had no light in them whatsoever; the only way around was following the voice of a leader who knew the winding and twisting pathways. The three of us held onto each other's hands to make sure we wouldn't get lost.
Once we got inside, we nearly tripped from the sudden drop in elevation; of course there were some railings... that came up to Mia's nose. But at least we could finally see after what felt like a decade - the whole inside was lit up with torches, lights, and other assorted objects that lit up the area. In the center of the amphitheatre was what appeared to be a giant squared surface where glowing crystals littered the perimeter as if to separate the seats from the square. I looked up and noticed that rocky seats went up all the way into the heavens to the point where I couldn't see them anymore... Never seen anything like this before in my life.
'Let's sit here,' Mia said, pulling Axel by the shirt to an empty area center right from the square. We could look down and visibly see everything.
An hour must've went by and still nothing happened.
'Gee, I wonder when the show will start,' Axel said in a huff, his arms crossed in front of his chest, some strands of his orange bangs fell in front of his light green eyes.
'Good question...' I mumble, wondering how much of a good idea it was to do this. If we were going to be here a while, might as well get in touch with the culture of the locals, am I right?
Without a moment of my mumbling, the show started off with a bang... literally. An explosion popped out of nowhere from the ring, grey and tan smoke flying everywhere and filling the arena, but the crowd merely cheered in excitement in reaction.
'Who's ready for some action?' The glittery-eyed man from outside took center stage and shouted at the audience who replied with a roar. He must've been the promoter or something; maybe he owned the promotion? Some people shouted, 'Let's go, Darak!'
'It's time... for the Hippodrome to come to life!'
After a few matches it was time for the main event... the team championships were up for grabs between two women teams. The challengers were out first, and the crowd showed their happiness to see them by throwing their beverages and foods at them; Celeste and Yoko responded with absolute indifference and looked toward the door that kept the champions. They, Deirdre and Quinn, came out one by one, which stroke me as particular since Yoko and Celeste came in together as a team. At least it was easy to tell these two apart; Deirdre had orange hair that matched my brother's and Quinn had a deep violet color to her hair with sparkling glitters thrown in there. A tribute to the promoter, perhaps? Yoko and Celeste had matching jet black hair that came down to the middle of their spines.
Yoko was starting out first and while we all thought Deirdre would start as well, Quinn slapped her on the shoulder to bring herself in and 'shooed' her back with her hands. I have a feeling that Deirdre and Axel would get along famously with how much her eyes twitched.
The two opponents locked up and held nothing back. By the end of it, their bodies - all four of their bodies - were what appeared to be irreparable; their arms were mangled, their legs were dislocated, and cuts and bruises ripped and stained their skins. But Deirdre and Quinn were still champions; they were just that good. They held their shiny rhodium championships high above their heads as they pulled each other in for a close embrace, a surprising twist for a couple of people were who initially having troubles.
Quinn grabbed what appeared to be a microphone. 'And another bites the dust.' She hissed into it. The crowd were making comments, unable to hold themselves back. 'It doesn't matter how many times we have to defend our titles, this belongs to us. And none of y'all or anyone who stands up to challenge us will do something about it!'
Deirdre took the microphone. 'And believe us, you miserable pile of humanoid wastes - if you've got a problem, go cry about it to Erik Petrosyan! We are the baddest, we are the strongest, and we are the best at everything this game is about!'
The three of us looked at each other when Deirdre said that name. That was Dad. No way, was he here?
'Hey, I have an idea...'"
To be continued.